Israel Resource Review 23rd May, 2003


US State Department Official William Burns
A Critical Perspective
Dr. Kenneth Timmerman

Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, under fire from conservatives for recent remarks in Jerusalem that disparaged the president and his supporters, has a history of cozying up to radical Muslims who oppose peaceful coexistence with Israel.

Speaking to Israeli and Palestinian "peace activists" in Jerusalem on May 4, Burns reassured them that "common sense" would prevail over the views of the President George W. Bush's Christian and conservative supporters, many of whom insist that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel's right to exist and stop homicide bombings against civilians before the United States pressures Israel to accept a Palestinian state on its territory.

Burns' comments, former White House domestic-policy chief Gary Bauer tells Insight, "showed incredible disdain for the president and his most loyal supporters, and demonstrated that this is not George Bush's State Department. He should be fired."

On Monday, Bauer sent a letter to the president that was signed by 22 Jewish and evangelical Christian leaders, urging him to recognize there can be "no viable peace unless Israel's neighbors concede its right to exist." The letter cited "Nazi-inspired hatred of Jews" in Palestinian schools and ongoing terrorist attacks as unmistakable signs of Palestinian rejection of Israel.

While not named in the letter, top State Department Arabist Burns has been taking it on the chin from nationally broadcast conservative talk-show host Marlin Maddoux, a signatory of the letter, and Washington Times publisher Wesley Pruden, who wrote on Tuesday that the president needed to "rein in 'the Arabist cabal' at the State Department that is forever pressing the Israelis to kill themselves on behalf of peace."

But it could get much worse for Burns. As the Clinton administration's ambassador to Jordan for three years, Burns apologized on behalf of the United States to a top Jordanian Islamist who was barred from entering the United States because of his ties to known terrorists.

According to the New York Times, Burns personally telephoned Islamic Action Front leader Ishaq Farhan to "express his concern" after the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport barred Farhan from entering the United States on May 3, 2000, because he was on the terrorist watch list. Farhan had to purchase a $2,000 one-way ticket back to Jordan when the INS ordered him to return to Amman on the first available flight.

The Times article added that "American diplomats in Jordan said they were unaware of information that would merit interrogating or deporting Mr. Farhan, whom they consider an important moderating force."

What the Times failed to report was that Farhan's U.S. visa had been revoked by the State Department, after it had received information from the INS detailing Farhan's ties to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that has murdered hundreds of Israelis and more than a dozen Americans in suicide bombings during the last eight years.

Farhan headed the "consultative council" of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the radical, anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood that has spawned Osama bin Laden, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In Jordan, the IAF is a recognized political party despite its open sympathy for international terrorist groups.

"This story, which I was not aware of until now, shows that Mr. Burns does not understand the nature of the enemy the United States and Israel is facing," American Values President Bauer tells Insight. "What a comment it is on the man's judgment."

Two days after Burns apologized to him, Farhan told UPI that the U.S. Embassy in Jordan had told him he would receive a new, permanent U.S. visa.

Farhan added that a U.S. journalist who "regards himself as an expert on terrorism" had been responsible for the treatment he had received at JFK. He claimed that the journalist had submitted a report to the State Department and to a House of Representatives subcommittee listing him as an "Islamic terrorist militant." Farhan appears to have been referring to terrorism expert Stephen Emerson, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information on February 24, 1998, on the subject of foreign terrorists in America.

Among the most notorious foreign terrorists regularly admitted to the United States, Emerson told the Senate panel under oath, was Farhan, who in 1991 "gave a pep talk to 25 handpicked Hamas recruits in Chicago, and a few years earlier collaborated with Jordanian-based Islamist Yusuf al-Azm on gunrunning for Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin." Farhan also was a regular speaker at the annual conference of the Islamic Association for Palestine, a Hamas front group in the United States that has been closed down by the FBI, Emerson added in his testimony.

"Burns arranged for an official of an organization that was calling for jihad on America to come to this country. He should have been held accountable then, and he should be held accountable now," Emerson tells Insight.

In his recent encounter at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem with left-wing Israelis and Cabinet ministers of the Palestinian Authority, Burns said that President Bush was determined to move ahead with his "road map" for Middle East peace, despite opposition from his own supporters. According to minutes of the meeting released by the left-wing "Peace Now" group to the Jerusalem Post, Labor Party Knesset (Israeli Parliament) member Colette Avital alleged that conservatives, Christians and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee "are lobbying to torpedo the road map." On behalf of the "peace coalition," she asked Burns for help "to express our views to the American public."

In reply, Burns stated his view that "the common sense of all peoples will override the conservative and Christian viewpoints once they see the road map's potential."

The State Department Near East bureau did not return Insight's calls for comment on this story.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight.
Published at on their May 27, 2003 issue

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Arafat Remains in Charge, Says Abu Mazen
Palestine Media Centre (PMC) [Official arm of the PA]

[With thanks to IMRA for calling this to our attention.]

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said President Yasser Arafat (Abu Ammar) remains in charge despite a US and Israeli refusal to deal with him, and said his stamp of approval should precede any political action.

"Arafat is at the top of the (Palestinian National) Authority (PNA). He's the man to whom we refer, regardless of the American or Israeli view of him," Abbas said in an interview with Egypt's semi-official al-Mussawer weekly.

"For us, Abu Ammar is the president elected by the Palestinian people and he is the chairman of the whole Palestinian Authority. We do not do anything without his approval," Abbas said, referring to Arafat by his nom de guerre.

Abbas came to power last month amid intense US pressure for Palestinian reforms. Washington, echoing Israeli propaganda slogans, accuses Arafat of doing too little to rein in what both countries label as "terrorists" and "militants."

"I will not allow any serious differences between Arafat and me," Abbas told al-Mussawar's editor-in-chief Makram Ahmed in Gaza. "There may be day-to-day differences . . . But there will be no serious problems that lead to 'divorce'."

Abbas reiterated his backing and respect for Arafat, who symbolizes the struggle for independence for most Palestinians and Arabs. The prime minister said he would not travel abroad until the president was also allowed full freedom of movement.

"I cannot imagine how can there be different treatments for me and for Abu Ammar," he said, referring to Israeli restrictions on Arafat's ability to travel.

Earlier this month, Abbas held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the highest-level Israeli-Palestinian meeting in more than two years.

Abbas said they discussed the US-backed "roadmap" peace plan but Palestinian and Israeli views were far apart.

While the Palestinians have accepted the initiative, Israel has raised several reservations and is still targeted by the "Quartet" of international peace mediators, including the United States, to officially declare its acceptance of the "roadmap."

"We as Palestinians are determined to accept the roadmap as we received it. But Sharon insists on accepting the 'principles' of the roadmap," Abbas said. "The two stances are totally different."

Last week Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shaom announced that it was "impossible" for Israel to accept the "roadmap" without amendments.

Shalom also was quoted Wednesday as telling Israeli parliament members that he would favour expelling Arafat.

In remarks broadcast over Israel Radio, Shalom said, "My position regarding the expulsion of Arafat has not changed," since he spoke out in favour of his removal two years ago.

Shalom hinted at a possible Israeli change of heart towards Abbas, whom Israel has been promoting as a replacement to Arafat.

If PM Abbas "does not do what is needed" to end a string of attacks on Israeli targets, "he will find himself in a short time ending up like (President Yasser) Arafat," Shalom said.

The European Union has spurned a recent Israeli move to undermine the leadership of Arafat and announced on Tuesday that it would continue meeting the Palestinian leader, despite an Israeli threat to boycott foreign officials who meet Arafat.

"Contacts that we feel are necessary we will make and this will very often include President Arafat , as of course Prime Minister Abu Mazen," said the Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who met with the Palestinian President in his besieged Ramallah headquarters last week.

"We don't think this is an issue which should become a centre stage issue. The problem is promoting the road map and we have to have the necessary contacts to do so," Papandreou told reporters following a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Athens Tuesday.

Similarly the Chinese special envoy to the Middle East Wang Shijie rebuffed Israel's threat.

Shijie met with President Arafat Wednesday, despite Israel's threats.

"The aim is to push both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, forward with the peace process," said Wang Shijie.

In an earlier meeting with Shalom, Shijie appealed to Israel and Palestine to stop the vicious circle of violence so as to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks.

Shijie said China welcomes and supports the "roadmap" for the Middle East peace, which is formulated by the US, the EU, Russia and the United Nations.

On Wednesday also Egypt announced that it will not sponsor further inter-Palestinian dialogue to reach a truce with the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) until Israel declares its full acceptance of the "roadmap."

Similarly, Jordan announced recently that it will not send the Jordanian ambassador back to Tel Aviv until the Jewish State's government declares it acceptance of the Quartet's peace plan.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states which concluded peace treaties with Israel.

President Arafat last week said that the Israeli escalating propaganda campaign of accusations against him aims at prolonging the siege imposed on him and at aborting serious efforts to achieve a real peace in the region.

"They (the Israelis) are launching a wide propaganda campaign against me with the aim of expanding the siege imposed on me," he told reporters in Ramallah Monday.

"I am accused of many things, including terror attacks, but they forget that I made peace," Arafat added.

This was issued on May 22, 2003 at:

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Text of Powell/Rice Statement
May 23, 2003
Followed by Commentary by Dr. Aaron Lerner

Statement by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice

The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap.

The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfill the President's vision of June 24, 2002.

This amorphous fig leaf solution is sheer madness.

This American statement isn't a solution. It is another problem. A source for future American-Israeli friction.

What does it mean to "address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap"? This when the roadmap itself is not being changed?

Would anyone commit to a defective contract based on the assurance that even though the written text is dangerously defective that when the contract is implements that the problems will be address?

How can they be addressed when the text calls for one thing and "addressing" these problem means doing something completely differently?

Washington has already been bending over backwards to ignore the failure of the Arafat-Mazen government to meet expectations. More of the same can be expected in the future.

Prime Minister Sharon's statement after the announcement indicates a serious failure in his team to think beyond the next 24 hours.

It should be noted that the "response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap" is not in the public record. A third party - concerned Israeli citizens - have no way of even establishing if what happens in the future does or doesn't address these problems since it can always be claimed that newspaper reports regarding Israel's concerns were no accurate.

If the wording of the statement was coordinated with Sharon the ramifications are even more serious. It indicates that the true "enemy" of both Bush and Sharon is the Israeli public, hence the move to try and strip it of its ability to effectively monitor and criticize implementation.

Today is a black mark on American Israeli relations and a black mark on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The question remains if the ministers who make up his cabinet have the will to put the interest of the nation over personal considerations and stop this madness. This is particularly challenging for ministers who see themselves only a conviction away from the prime minister's slot (unlike other Israeli politicians who tried to separate themselves from illegal fundraising activity, Sharon relied on his sons and developed a paper trail that even the most political attorney general can ignore for long).

To date no vote has been held on this matter by the Cabinet in point of fact, no official discussion has been held by the Cabinet of the roadmap.

Under the law, each minister bears responsibility for the decisions of the Government.

We will see this Sunday if the ministers have the intestinal fortitude to act on that responsibility.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel (+972-9) 760-4719/Fax (+972-3) 725-5730
pager 03-6106666 subscriber 4811

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Road Map Rekindles Arab War for the "Right of Return"
David Bedein

"The Americans rejected one of Israel's central demands, which states that the Palestinian Arabs would agree to concede the right of return in return for Israel's recognition of a Palestinian Arab state. They also rejected Israel's demand to remove the Saudi proposal (a full withdrawal to the lines of June 4, 1967 and recognition of the right of return, in return for the recognition of Israel by the Arab countries and natural relations) as one of the main sources of the road map's authority" - Shimon Shiffer, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot newspaper, May 23, 2003.

In other words, what our agency has been reporting for 15 years is indeed the case: The US state department, together with all the western governments, indeed support the Arab world campaign for the "right of return" to the Arab villages lost in 1948. None of these villages where they expect to return lie in Judea, Samaria (Also known as the west bank) or Gaza.

The US support for the "right of return" is no theoretical matter. That support was translated into the $114 million that the US contributed last year to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

UNRWA continues to confine more than one million Arabs to the squalor of Arab refugee camps, who wallow in these "temporary shelters" , under the specious premise and promise of the "inalienable right of return", as defined by the UN for more than fifty years. Another three million Palestinian Arabs are defined by UNRWA as official refugees and serviced by UNRWA.

Canada chairs the RWG, the Refugee Working Group together with the US and the EU countries. The RWG provides the continuing official western governmental policy that stirs the expectation amongst the Palestinian Arabs that they will be repatriated to the Arab villages from 1948 which have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands. The genesis of a Palestinian Arab entity has done nothing to stem those expectations. The ideology of the PLO remains that every Arab who left in 1948 who claims to be descended from an Arab who left in 1948 can have the absolute unquestioned right to return to that village.

We asked the head of the PLO refugee committee, Daoud Baraket, about the difficulties of that "right of return", since Israelis live in cities which replaced the Arab villages from 1948. Baraket had a simple solution. "The Israelis should leave", he said. And what if they do not leave, we asked. "Well, we would have to kill them, and international law would be on our side", Baraket said.

It is no wonder that the 59 UNRWA refugee camps remain the safe haven of Arab terror groups.

And what the US discovered during the April war with Iraq was that UNRWA refugee camps in Lebanon, financed in part by the US, were transformed into paramilitary training centers for well trained Arab militias that were dispatched to fight the US and Britain in Iraq. 320,000 Palestinian Arab refugees live in the worst of the UNRWA camps in Lebanon, which is the only host country for UNRWA that restricts Palestinian Arabs from working in most professions, so as to keep the Palestinian Arabs in the UNRWA camps. The UNRWA camps in Lebanon conduct their daily military exercises to dispatch thousands of refugees to flood northern Israel to retake their homes and villages that were lost in the 1948 war.

And these refugees in Lebanon are being are being primed by UNRWA policies which are endorsed by the US, Canada and the EU.

The people of Israel know nothing of all this. They will soon find out, however.

After 15,000 Arab terror attacks throughout Israel which have taken the lives of almost 800 murdered Israelis in less than three years, the people of Israel are in for a rude awakening.

The rallying call which inspires Arab terror is the "right of return", not "free the west bank and Gaza".

That rallying call is not only supported by Arab terrorists.

The right of return, which means the right to murder just about all of the people of Israel, is supported by the official foreign policies of the US, Canada, and the EU.

Israel is at war with the world.

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